Sophie Ecclestone shines on return as England ease to opening T20 win over India

Sophie Ecclestone took three wickets as England picked up a comfortable win in Mumbai  (Getty Images)
Sophie Ecclestone took three wickets as England picked up a comfortable win in Mumbai (Getty Images)

Sophie Ecclestone took three wickets on her return to competitive action as England’s women began their tour of India with victory in the opening T20.

After losing two wickets in the first over, half-centuries from Danni Wyatt and Nat Sciver-Brunt led England to a commanding total of 197 for six at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.

Wyatt marked her 150th T20i appearance with 75 from just 47 balls from the top of the order, before Sciver-Brunt 77 from 53 to put the tourists in charge at the midway stage.

Ecclestone had been sidelined since dislocating a shoulder during the Hundred back in August, but excelled as the pick of England’s bowlers, with India’s chase falling 38 runs short despite Shafali Verma’s half-century.

Opener Wyatt began the match by becoming the first English cricketer to reach the cap landmark but soon found herself in a scrap at the Wankhede Stadium, losing two batting partners in the first over of the day and before she had even got off the mark.

Renuka Singh was responsible for her side's fine start, bowling Sophia Dunkley via a deflection off the bat and then knocking over Alice Capsey for a golden duck as she took out off stump with a beauty.

Wyatt and Sciver-Brunt were unfazed by the double setback and proceeded to put on 138 off the next 87 balls.

Wyatt helped herself to eight fours and two sixes, the first a slog sweep off Deepti Sharma and the second a big swing over long-off charging debutant Shreyanka Patil.

Sciver-Brunt added 13 boundaries of her own as the scoreboard raced along but Wyatt's 47-ball attack ended with five overs left as she was stumped off newcomer Saika Ishaque.

Captain Heather Knight fell cheaply and Sciver-Brunt was caught behind in the 19th but Amy Jones ensured an action-packed finish by scoring 23 off nine balls at the death.

Sciver-Brunt was back in the thick of things early in the chase, coming on for the third over and forcing an error from the dangerous Smriti Mandhana, who was bowled middle stump.

Shafali Verma collected a handful of fours as she kept India in touch with the required rate but when Freya Kemp had Jemima Rodrigues caught behind in the final powerplay over it was another big boost to the tourists' cause.

India were relying on a big stand between Verma and Harmanpreet Kaur, the latter briefly looking in rude health before Ecclestone's arrival spelled the end. The left-arm spinner needed just one sighter before bowling Kaur via an inside edge.

With five overs left India still needed 74, leaving England to mop up a clinical win as Ecclestone added the battling Verma (52) and Kanika Ahuja to her haul.

Additional reporting by PA.